How to combat tribalism  


How to combat tribalism

Dear Mr. M’bai,

I am wondering what went wrong in our public discussion. I am saddened that all of a sudden the citizens of a country which was always known for its tolerance and discipline are becoming paranoid concerning tribes and ethnic matters. I am puzzled that you can no longer make a mild joke about tribes in the Gambia. Are we slowly sleep-walking back to medieval times?

If so, we immediately need to wake up otherwise socially as a nation we are doomed to fail. I cannot imagine us pulling and pushing one another just because of our ethic and tribal differences. I am disappointed that instead of promoting the brotherhood of one nation, we are distracted by the actions of a few political agitators in our midst. In the past few days, social media went mad following the utterance of one irrational individual, whose dubious intent was to tear us apart by unleashing all his frustration against just one particular tribe.

My fellow citizens, let us allow the law to take its course, and move on with our lives.  Our strength genuinely lies in our unity. The effort of our ancestors is the foundation to our social and ethnic fabric, which has bound us together for many centuries, and projected a positive image  of the Gambia to the outside world. I encourage every citizen to continue to nurture that unity and safeguard it for the benefit of the next generation. The virtue of that unity is manifested in many ways.  The wider world views the Gambia as a country which is known for her peace, tolerance, harmony, love and humour. Consequently, she has earned the title of “the smiling coast of Africa”.

There is no single tribe which can claim ownership of the Gambia: she belongs to all Gambians. Due to intermarriage, the blood line of the majority of Gambians has been diluted with that of other tribes. By way of example, I am Gambian, and a Mandinka. My wife is Fulla, my fathers’ best friend is Sarahuli, my dearest neighbour is Wollof, my uncle’s wife is Manjako, my main admirers are Jolla, and my newest friend is Sarere: There is no room for tribalism! I believe that this would be the case for most Gambians.

How to combat tribalism
Firstly, the introduction of army conscription. Whoever reaches the age of eighteen ought to serve in the Gambian national army for at least five years. Such an initiative is known to be effective in combatting tribalism in countries like Kuwait, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. Secondly, discourage people from translating for speakers at public gatherings. For example, a public speech in a predominately Fulla area can confidently be made only in the Fulla language. There is no need for translation.

How to tackle the threat of ethnic cleansing
The best weapon is the introduction of tough laws to deal with offenders accordingly, without mercy.

One Gambia, one people
Yaya Sillah

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